The Asia Foundation’s Community-Centered Response to Covid-19

April 23, 2020 — As the Covid-19 crisis continues, The Asia Foundation is focusing program efforts to combat the public health implications and the economic and social issues exacerbated by the global pandemic. The multiple challenges created by the far-reaching crisis have disproportionately impacted the region’s most vulnerable groups including women, youth, migrants, and low-wage workers.

The Asia Foundation’s permanent 18 country offices and longstanding relationships with local partners have been crucial to identifying urgent needs and mobilizing responses to realities on the ground. We are working closely with partners, donors, and counterparts in government, civil society, and the private sector to repurpose existing programs and develop new initiatives. Below are examples of the Foundation’s response to the evolving Covid-19 situation.

  • With 1.5 billion children out of school due to Covid-19, our Books for Asia program launched Let’s Read at Home, a resource site that supports families and children with collections of digital books and enrichment activities in 10 languages focused on health, STEM, critical thinking, and resilience. This complements our Let’s Read initiative, the region’s largest free digital library for children.
  • In Indonesia, our Peduli Social Inclusion program serves the most marginalized groups—the transgender community, vulnerable children, victims of human rights violation, followers of indigenous beliefs, and people with disabilities. Working at the grassroots level with thousands of community-level activists, the program implemented quick assessments of how the virus has impacted communities at the fringes of society and continues to highlight this reality for policymakers.
  • In Nepal, the Shuvayatra mobile app provides vital information to the nation’s returnee migrants and their families, including accurate updates on Covid-19 and the government’s response. By leveraging the user-base of Hamro Patro, a popular news service used by Nepalis abroad and their families at home, information disseminated on Shuvayatra is available to more than 5 million people.
  • In Pakistan, supporting the response of District Administration of Rawalpindi, the Foundation partnered with the Deputy Commissioner’s Office to disseminate critical public health information and distribute personal protective equipment and sanitation products, including facemasks, soap, and disinfectants for 3,000 individuals severely affected by Covid-19.
  • In the Philippines, we launched the LGU vs. COVID PH information portal to empower provinces, cities, and municipalities—local government units vital in mitigating community risks during the health crisis—with access to verified information and tools in the country’s battle against Covid-19.
  • In Timor-Leste, our Nabilan program works to reduce violence against women and to improve the well-being of women and children affected by violence. The program took early measures to inform its partners about Covid-19, including drafting guidance with the Ministry of Social Solidarity on receiving clients during the crisis, establishing a reception center for monitoring all new shelter clients during a 14-day quarantine period, and providing funding to improve water supply and hygiene in shelters.

Read more about the Foundation’s Rapid Response Fund to address the gender-related impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic across Asia.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region addresses five overarching goals—strengthen governance, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote regional cooperation. Read more about the Foundation’s work.

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Related locations: Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Timor-Leste
Related topics: Covid-19

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